A Second Amendment Thing

A Second Amendment Thing
Dane La Born

Dane La Born

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

These are the words of the second amendment to the Constitution, and a constant source of debate among Americans.

Following the shootings at a movie theater in Lafayette, La., governor Bobby Jindal proposed a plan to put metal detectors in movie theaters. This is following another shooting in Chatanooga, and added to the ever growing lists of mass shootings in the United States of America. I’ve covered the topic many times. A mass shooting was actually the first thing to drag me out of my comfort zone of covering entertainment in order to share my more detailed thoughts with the fine people of Northwest Arkansas.

God it’s exhausting. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. What does that say about us as a country? This is what we are resigned to? Putting metal detectors in movie theaters? Saying things like “Well, at least it isn’t at an elementary school this time,” because that is a thing we can and do say. More and more when these shootings happen, the commentary from the media laments how much worse it could have been, saying “Remember James Holmes?” and “Remember Sandy Hook?” and invoking tragedy after tragedy to illustrate that, while terrible, it’s not as bad as it could have been. “It’s not as bad as we’ve seen in the past.”

Remember when this didn’t happen every month?

In other countries, gun control came after incidences like we’ve seen at a growing rate. In the UK, it was the Dunblane School Massacre, when a gunman killed 16 children and one teacher. That was in 1996, and by 1997, two firearms acts were passed, prohibiting handguns. In Australia, the Port Arthur Massacre, which saw 35 people killed and 23 wounded introduced stricter legislation. Both countries outlawed handguns and semi-automatics. Rifles and shotguns are still permitted. Both countries have very low rates of gun crime.

The rates at which Americans die by guns when compared to almost anywhere else in the world speaks for itself. All one needs do is turn on the TV to see the multitude of people who died in the last hour alone from gun crime. This country has a problem, and the problem is our attachment to these tiny death machines.

The second amendment to the Constitution was written in 1776. The founding fathers lived in a time of political turmoil, and they literally revolted against their government and founded ours. “A well-regulated militia” is how the amendment itself starts. The sentence doesn’t mean “You have a right to keep a basement full of explosives and automatic weapons,” it means we have the right to keep a militia. It means we have the right to revolution.

The founders were brilliant, albeit greatly flawed, men. Many of them were idealists. I don’t think a one of them, in their wildest nightmares, knew the lengths humanity would go to in order to be able to better kill each other. Bear in mind, when they wrote the amendment, it took roughly three minutes to load their rifle. I’m sure many people could do it quickly, but the point is they were operating in a single shot world. You’d have to really try to do the kinds of things we so often see today. We have guns that rain down hell and destruction and take out entire rooms full of people in seconds. Things have got to change.

Categories: Commentary